The following Question without Notice was asked by the Liberal Member for the South West Region Hon Dr Steve Thomas MLC and answered yesterday in the Upper House of WA Parliament by the Environment Minister Hon Stephen Dawson MLC representing the Emergency Services Minister.
Hon Dr STEVE THOMAS to the minister representing the Minister for Emergency Services:
(1) Under what circumstances would a 1.2-metre high fence be considered an appropriate emergency exit or point of egress during a fire or other emergency?
(2) Would a 1.2-metre high fence ever be considered an appropriate emergency exit or point of egress during a fire or other emergency?
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question. The following information has been provided by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
(1)–(2) A 1.2-metre high fence would not be considered an appropriate emergency exit or point of egress during a fire or other emergency. The definition of an exit within the Building Code of Australia is —
Exit means —
(a) Any, or any combination of the following if they provide egress to a road or open space —
(i) An internal or external stairway.
(ii) A ramp.
(iii) A fire-isolated passageway.
(iv) A doorway opening to a road or open space.
(b) A horizontal exit or a fire-isolated passageway leading to a horizontal exit.
The clear intent here is for occupants of a building to have clear access out of the building in case of an emergency.